Distance: 13.5 km
Elevation gain: 850 mView mapDownload GPS track
With continued bad weather in the forecast, we decided to stick to the front ranges and repeat this hike from last year
. See that report for directions to the trailhead and the route description, as well as photos from a nice day.
This year the snow was much deeper than the previous year, but the trail had been well-packed by a few large groups in the previous week and we were able to hike the entire way without putting on our snowshoes. The wind was predictably cold and harsh on top, but the snow to the west and south held off and made for a decent summit visit.
In search of a bit of off-trail adventure, we used an alternate descent route along a minor ridge visible from the east summit. From the summit it was clearly wind-blown, but a small miscalculation did have us breaking trail through waist deep snow for about 100 m. As it was downhill it wasn't too strenuous, however, and this small detour did give us a bit of our desired adventure. See this photo
for details of the route and proceed only if you have the energy for crazy trail breaking should something go wrong.